It’s funny how brains work. The last great movie I saw was The Grand Budapest Hotel and (as it happens with great movies) it was still on mind today, a full week later. As The Lady Vanishes’ credits scrolled by slowly my mind wandered to something I had completely forgotten: the incredible speed at which The Grand Budapest Hotel’s opening credits flew. Then the first shot of The Lady Vanishes is this slow push into to an increasingly fake looking model, to the point where I assumed it’d be revealed to be a model a la Beetlejuice. Then this hilariously fake model car pulls up to the model, like a child pulling a toy car on a string.
Then it’s revealed that the film opens in a hotel in a vaguely Hungarian seeming country, full of crazy international characters and a manic comic energy and, well, it took me the next 45 minutes to view the film as anything other than “the thing Wes Anderson was remaking with Grand Budapest Hotel”. Which is of course ridiculous (as if this hasn’t been remade enough!) but, well, brains are weird. It makes me wonder how many other films have been completely colored by what I was watching before and after them.
This era of Hitchcock (or, at the very least, this, The 39 Steps and The Man Who Knew Too Much) feels more comedically driven than anything, with their light romantic-comic duos and abundance of one-liners. But the stories are always tight, fast-paced, and full of the wonderful details that make for good and exciting thrillers. I plan on filling in a lot of my Hitchcock gaps over the course of this year, but I can’t imagine many of his later films, with their bigger budgets, scale, and set-pieces, will match the jaunty rhythms of early works like this. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen North By Northwest, but it’s certainly not a movie I remember for it’s tightness. A